Despite Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts at avoiding cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, President Obama slashed Maine’s allotment by $32.6 million. This is devastating to our truly needy.

According to Dale McCormick, director of MaineHousing, the average beneficiary of LIHEAP has an income of $16,500, and 54 percent of the people are elderly or disabled. McCormick also has said, “People will freeze in their homes at this level” and “They will have to choose between fuel and food, fuel and medicine, fuel and rent.”

LePage is taking action to fund the heating needs of our truly needy. He is willing to make prioritized budgeting decisions, the same ones we make every day with our personal budgets.

“They have lots of funds that are earmarked for projects over the next three or four years — but the crisis is now, for this winter,” LePage said. The governor also believes Efficiency Maine’s two-year operating budget of $53 million positions them well.

The problem lies with Maine House Democratic Leader Emily Cain. Cain is opposing cuts to Efficiency Maine’s long-term programs, despite the benefits of helping our truly needy stay warm this winter.

Cain is also opposed to diverting funds from MPBN. This alone could help heat 4,600 homes. Who is Cain working for, the special interest groups or Maine citizens?

Please contact your legislator, asking them to support LePage and to prevent our truly needy from freezing this winter.

Frances Maheux


Simple fix will give ships deep enough water to dock

I have been concerned that the cruise ships don’t have enough water in order to dock in Portland. This is a very serious problem, as most cities do have deep enough water in order for them to dock.

The problem can be easily solved by simply raising the water level near the dock. This could be done by a lock, and it would be suitable for the largest of cruise ships.

Tom Heels


Snowe buys into delusions about balanced budget

Sen. Olympia Snowe has cosponsored 18 versions, according to a recent posting on her website, of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. I can only conclude from her persistence that because she is so completely in thrall to the radical wing of the GOP, she has lost all sense of reality.

Many economists of all stripes have serious questions about enshrining an amendment to the Constitution that would mandate a balanced budget.

Conservatives are the ones, until recently, who have had a problem with this, simply because it might lead to tax increases in years where there are shortfalls in revenue.

Today, conservatives want a balanced budget that will constrain spending to an arbitrary percentage of GDP but make tax increases almost impossible. This is a logical fallacy unless one lives in the fantasy world of Grover Norquist.

In times of recession, like now, a balanced budget amendment would increase the possibility of default on our obligations, something that almost happened recently even without it.

In addition, a congressional minority could threaten to withdraw support for a three-fifths majority to waive the budget requirement in times of crisis, thereby compromising democratic principles.

And nothing could be done about the national debt since many economists are predicting slow or anemic growth for the next decade.

Therefore, one can only conclude that Snowe is of the same mind as the so-called “starve-the-beast” conservatives who want to eliminate all social programs established since FDR and up to the present. All those in favor, raise your hands.

Bevan Davies


Restaurant raid overlooks treatment of legal workers

Leslie Bridgers’ article posted on The Portland Press Herald website Nov. 16, “Federal sweep targets local Chinese restaurants,” reported on what officials called “deplorable” working conditions for illegal immigrants in the hospitality industry, including 70-hour workweeks without overtime pay or health benefits.

While I agree that this type of work environment is unjust, I question why this concern is rarely, if ever, raised regarding the thousands of American workers in the Maine hospitality industry who work under the same or worse conditions.

In addition to working 70 or more hours per week without any benefits or overtime pay (or appropriately adjusted salaries), legal American hospitality workers also pay taxes on their income — reducing their take-home pay to often less than minimum wage (when salaries are divided by hours worked).

I agree we should be appalled by the conditions that illegal immigrants are forced to endure in the restaurant industry, but we should be equally — if not more — outraged by the very same conditions that our own legal workers are quietly enduring in an effort to (literally) keep food on the table.

Hannah Perlmutter